If you’re planning a garden, you’ll need to till the soil before placing your plants. If the soil is too compact, it will restrict water flow while also preventing the plants’ roots from growing.
In essence, this will hinder your plants’ growth and health – and in some cases – cause them to die. But there are a few things you should know about tilling a garden bed.
#1) Only Till Dry Soil
Don’t attempt to till your soil if it’s wet or moist. When soil is moist, tilling may cause uneven distribution of the nutrients, which of course is bad for your plants. So, wait until the soil is completely dry to the touch before tilling.
#2) Till in the Spring or Summer
It’s also a good idea to wait until the spring or summer to till your soil. If you till in the winter, the soil may become compact again before it’s time to place your plants.
Furthermore, cold soil – particularly during the middle of winter – is difficult to till. It can become so hard, in fact, that it’s known to break spades and tilling machines. To prevent problems such as these from arising, wait until the spring or summer to till your garden bed.
#3) Mark the Area Before Tilling
Where exactly do you plan on tilling? Perhaps you already have a general idea, in which case you should mark the area. You can place some wooden stakes around the perimeter where you plan on tilling, using this as a source of reference.
The stakes don’t provide any functional benefit, but they’ll reduce the risk of you accidentally tilling soil outside of your garden bed.
#4) Till Two Feet Deep
A good rule of thumb is to till your garden bed about two feet deep. Different plants require different soil depths. However, two feet is usually sufficient for most common garden plants.
At this depth, your plants and flowers can reach deep into the ground for moisture and nutrients, encouraging healthy growth and development.
#5) Mulch After Tilling
After you are finished tilling, spread mulch over the soil to prevent intrusive weeds from emerging. When you till, weed seeds receive direct exposure to sunlight, which causes them to germinate and grow with ease.
Of course, this also encourages your “good” plants to grow, as well. Nonetheless, you’ll need to keep weeds and other unwanted plants out of your newly tilled flower bed by applying a layer of mulch over the surface. Mulch will block out the sunlight, preventing invasive and unwanted plants from growing here.
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